The Man in Black would have been 82 years old today.

The list of singers who can stand toe-to-toe with Johnny Cash in terms of presence, songwriting, performance and voice distinction is tiny -- maybe even nonexistent.

He didn't just cross formats. Johnny Cash created his own. The man himself and his music are timeless beyond his distinction of being a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Gospel Music Hall of Fame.

Cash's influence is so far-reaching, it's impossible to describe. Any artist who has ever picked up a guitar, wrote honest lyrics and gave it all they had has been influenced by The Man in Black.

When he died in 2003, the headline in The New York Times labeled Cash as a "Music Bedrock."

''He helped to liberalize Nashville,'' Rich Kienzle wrote in Country Music Magazine, ''so that it could accept the unconventional and the controversial, and he did as much as anyone to make the 'outlaw' phenomenon possible.''

Johnny Cash died just four months after his wife, June Carter Cash.

Happy birthday, J.R. Here are a few of my favorite songs by The Man in Black.

'God's Gonna Cut You Down'

'Folsom Prison Blues'


'A Boy Named Sue'